Bayreuth district

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Gaue of the NSDAP in the German Reich in 1944

The Bayreuth Gau (1942 to 1945; previously from 1933 to 1942 Bayerische Ostmark Gau ) was an administrative unit of the NSDAP . It comprised the northern Bavarian administrative district of Upper Franconia and the eastern Bavarian administrative districts of Upper Palatinate and Lower Bavaria .

History and structure

NSDAP district in 1926, 1928, 1933 (top row); 1937, 1939, 1943 (bottom row)

A northern Bavaria district of the DVSTB under Lorenz Mesch existed with the center in Coburg since 1921, which transferred personnel to the NSDAP . On February 27, 1925, Hans Schemm founded the NSDAP local group in Bayreuth and in 1928 the Upper Franconian Gau of the NSDAP. On September 3, 1928 he became Gauleiter in the Upper Franconian Gau. In 1928 he became a member of the Bavarian State Parliament and also head of the Franconian district of the National Socialist Society for German Culture . Since 1929, he led the National Socialist Teachers' Federation (NSLB) and was SA - group leader . On January 19, 1933, on Schemms initiative, his Gau was combined with the Gau Niederbayern-Oberpfalz to form the Gau Bayerische Ostmark , whereby " Mark " in the medieval sense was understood as a border area to and " barrier " against the " Slavs ".

A Gau Niederbayern-Oberpfalz was created under the Gau leader Gregor Strasser in 1926 and was divided into the Gau Niederbayern (Gau leader Gregor Strasser until 1929, Otto Erbersdobler until April 1, 1932) and the Gau Oberpfalz (Gau leader Adolf Wagner until 1929, Franz Maierhofer until April 1, 1932). The reunified Lower Bavaria-Upper Palatinate Gau was headed by Maierhofer from April 1932 to January 13, 1933.

From October 1, 1928 to September 1932, Ludwig Ruckdeschel was Gau managing director, Gau propaganda leader and Gau treasurer of the Gau leadership and permanent deputy to Gau leader Schemm.

On March 16, 1933, the Bavarian Reich Governor Franz Ritter von Epp , who was responsible for the six Bavarian party districts at the state level, appointed Schemm to the Bavarian cabinet of Epp as acting minister of culture for Bavaria . Hitler then appointed him on April 13, 1933 as "Head of Cultural and Educational Affairs in Bavaria". This meant that the state and party levels could hardly be separated.

Bayreuth became the capital of the district and was also the seat of the NSLB. The Bavarian Ostmarkstrasse from Upper Franconia to Passau was built as the main connecting axis of this Gau . A Gauführerschule existed in Weismain . The Mayor of Bayreuth Schlumprecht headed the Gauamt for local politics from 1934 to 1936. There the Passau Chamber of Industry and Commerce President Otto Erbersdobler worked afterwards and as a regional training manager. Planned by Schemm himself, but not completed until 1936, the “ House of German Education ” was inaugurated on July 12, 1936 on the occasion of the NSLB's Reichstag.

As the successor to Schemm, who died in a plane crash in Bayreuth on March 5, 1935 , Fritz Wächtler was appointed Gauleiter of the Bavarian East Markets on December 5, 1935. At the same time he was head of the "NSDAP Main Office for Education" and acting head of the NSLB.

In 1939 the Gau was expanded to include areas that belonged to Czechoslovakia until the Munich Agreement in 1938 , the districts of Bergreichenstein , Markt Eisenstein and Prachatitz .

On November 16, 1942, Wächtler was appointed Reich Defense Commissioner and in August 1944 was given the rank of " SS-Obergruppenführer ". After the advance of the US armed forces on Bayreuth, Wächtler was shot dead by an SS command in the Gauleitungs diversion point near Waldmünchen because he left his command post in Bayreuth prematurely . Allegedly the execution was carried out on the personal orders of Adolf Hitler , but presumably the order was preceded by an intrigue between his deputy Ludwig Ruckdeschel and Martin Bormann . The fanatic Ruckdeschel was considered a long-time rival of Fritz Wächtler. Since April 19, 1945, Ruckdeschel was the last Gauleiter. In this role, in a radio address on April 22nd, in view of the advance of the US Army, he called for the defense of Regensburg “to the last stone”.

Schemm wanted to promote an "Ostmark awareness" (e.g. through an Ostmarklied, Ostmarkstrasse or Ostmarkverlag). In 1942 the Gau (three years after the incorporation of the Sudetenland , whose southern communities were divided into other Gaue) renamed Gau Bayreuth . Schemm published a side edition of the Franconian people , the Bayerische Ostwacht , which was later renamed the Bayerische Ostmark . He founded the Gauverlag Bayerische Ostmark , based in Bayreuth, through which several regional papers were centrally controlled. Up to 1942 several newspapers carried the name "Bayerische Ostmark": In addition to the Franconian people , the Deggendorfer Zeitung , the Rottaler Zeitung , the Hofer Tagblatt , the Frankenwald-Zeitung , the Kulmbacher Rundschau , the Dingolfing-Landauer Zeitung , the Donau-Zeitung , the Regensburger Kurier , the Coburg national newspaper and other daily newspapers. From 1942 Gauverlag Bayreuth , he produced a large number of books until 1945, especially field post editions of small letters. Not only were there obvious propaganda publications , but also illustrated books about cities in the Bavarian East Markets.

The Gau ran commercial companies, the business assets of which consisted largely of assets stolen from the SPD . They were considered non-profit in the National Socialist sense . The Ostmark self-help set up the garden city in Bayreuth.


  • Hans Schemm (Sept. 1928/19 January 1933 - 5 March 1935)
  • Ludwig Ruckdeschel (March 20 - December 6, 1935, deputy Gauleiter, temporarily entrusted with the management)
  • Fritz Wächtler (December 5, 1935 - April 19, 1945)
  • Ludwig Ruckdeschel (from April 19, 1945)

Deputy Gauleiter:

  • Ludwig Ruckdeschel (February 1, 1933 - June 1941)
  • then apparently unoccupied


  • Hans Scherzer (Ed.): Gau Bayreuth. Country, people and history with 128 drawings, maps, sketches and cuts and 120 photographs. 2nd edition, Deutscher Volksverlag, Munich 1943.
  • Hans Scherzer (Ed.): Gau Bayerische Ostmark. Country, people and history with 128 drawings, maps, sketches and cuts and 120 photographs. Deutscher Volksverlag, Munich 1940.
  • Helmut Schaller: The Bavarian Ostmark - History of the Gau 1933-1945. Twelve years of common history of Upper Franconia, Upper Palatinate and Lower Bavaria , Hamburg 2006, ISBN 978-3-830021-06-3 .
  • Albrecht Bald u. a .: Aryanizations and Nazi cultural policy in the Franconian province (= Bayreuth reconstructions # 1), Bayreuth 2012, ISBN 978-3-929268-26-3 .
  • Albrecht Bald: “The border shimmers brown and the mark is true!”: The NS-Gau Bayerische Ostmark, Bayreuth 1933–1945. Grenzgau, borderland ideology and economic problem region (= Bayreuth reconstructions # 2), Bayreuth 2014, ISBN 978-3-929268-27-0 .
  • Albrecht Bald: Resistance, Refusal and Emigration in Upper Franconia: The Nazi Regime and its Opponents 1933–1945 (= Bayreuth Reconstructions # 3), Bayreuth 2015, ISBN 978-3-929268-28-7 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Albrecht Bald: “The border shimmers brown and the mark is true!”: The Nazi Gau Bayerische Ostmark, Bayreuth 1933–1945. Grenzgau, Grenzlandideologie and economic problem region , Bayreuth 2014, p. 143.